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Spend & Save

Five years on, small is still beautiful

The Suits
Next week sees a small landmark in accountancy. It brings the fifth anniversary of a firm that may yet help to break the mould of the profession.

The practice was formed by Andy Pollock and three colleagues in the smaller businesses group at Ernst & Young because they feared there would be a limited role for their expertise in the then newly merged firm. With the benefit of hindsight, of course, one can see that this might not have been the case. Soon after they left, recession struck and even large firms sought to respond to reductions in fees from large clients by developing practices around medium-sized companies.

Not that the recession was totally kind to what was originally known as DPRS. "The first year I was totally confident that we were doing the right thing," said Mr Pollock. But then the going became difficult and some of the partners and staff wanted to accept an offer to link up with another firm. Mr Pollock and Simon Rees opted to stick to their original plan - of having a small firm with a big-firm ethos - and did a deal whereby their other partners broke away.

As a result, 1992 was tough. But at that year's Christmas party, "I knew we had made it," said Mr Pollock. "Financially, we were still not strong. But the overall feeling was good and it went from there."

Now called Rees Pollock, the firm is 23-strong and attracts recruits who have trained at large firms, such as Coopers & Lybrand, as well as those from smaller regional firms. It believes its continuing links with Ernst & Young - the larger firm trains the other's staff and the two refer clients to each other - gives it an advantage in London over small business specialists.

"We don't worry about what happens when a client grows. We're happy to put them in contact with the big firms," he said.

Roger Trapp